LIMERICK County Fire and Rescue Service is setting the standard for fire services around the country.
Last Friday, the service, which is largely staffed by voluntary firefighters, became the first fire authority in Ireland to be presented with OHSAS 18001:2007 certification, the key international standard for health and safety.
Jan O’Sullivan TD, Minister of State at the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government, made the presentation at a ceremony in Foynes Fire Station.
Congratulating all those involved in the certification process, Minister O’Sullivan said it was “another step in improving the overall standard of safety performance”.
“The safety and management awards we are celebrating here today provide both service providers and the public with independent assurance of a high quality service,” she said.
Jerome Scanlan, Cathaoirleach of Limerick County Council also congratulated the fire service and paid tribute to them “for their planning, organization and hard work in providing a quality fire and rescue service to the people living, working and visiting County Limerick”.
“It should be noted,” he said, “that this invaluable service is delivered 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”
Along with receiving OHSAS 18001:2007 certification, Limerick County and Fire Rescue Service is also certified to ISO9001:2008, a standard of excellence in service delivery that has been maintained since 2000.
Carmel Kirby, Chief Fire Officer, explained: “Since being first accredited to our first international standard in 2000, our service has grown and matured in terms of how we do our business. We have also successfully managed to keep our resources up to date in order to meet the growing needs and expectations of our community. In addition, we are working to ensure that Fire Service staff are provided with proper facilities and a proper working environment.”
“As Chief Fire Officer, I look forward to continuing our service to the highest possible standard. We face new challenges in the Fire Service regularly and we will continue to plan and further upskill ourselves to deal with those,” Ms. Kirby added.
The OHSAS 18001 standard was first published by the National Standards Authority of Ireland in 2007 and is currently held by approximately 16,000 certified organisations in more than 80 countries. The standard sets out a preventative and proactive approach to identifying workplace hazards and assessing and controlling risk.
Friday’s presentation was followed by the official delivery of two new water carriers costing €370,000, which was funded by the Department of Environment. The vehicles will be used primarily for the provision of Fire fighting Water Supply.